ATMOS is originally a film and movie theater audio format created by Dolby labs that allow for the playback of music in a 3D surround, multi-speaker format. It uses object-based audio to create a more immersive listening experience.
ATMOS: Immersive 3D Surround AudioBook a session
When ATMOS was first introduced to the stereo music community The Mastering Palace entered this format cautiously. Mastering 12 channels of audio can get messy and unpleasant very quickly. It can also easily disrupt the delicate balance that the mixing engineer has painstakingly created. Hence ATMOS’s exponential complexity above stereo mixing and mastering as well as the many other caveats that go with it.
Rather than master their ATMOS mixes our clients began to request that we create their ATMOS mixes for them using their mix stems. The Mastering Palace now offers two levels of ATMOS services.
- A Quality Control (QC) of an ATMOS mix our client has created.
- A Full ATMOS mix using all of your mix stems to closely emulate your final STEREO MASTERED FILE. We will provide you with the ADM and BiNaural MASTER files as well as MP4 references you can listen to as you would a stereo mix.
Please keep in mind that it is impossible to do a version of the stereo mix in a multichannel format and have it sound identical to the original mix. However, we will get it incredibly close while bringing a new level of dimension to your song that this format provides.
Is this confusing, HELL yes it is!
But have no worries, we are here to answer any questions you may have and help guide you through this new process.
Below is an FAQ that may help answer some of your questions.
What is ATMOS?
How does ATMOS for music work?
Streaming music in ATMOS uses metadata to place individual audio elements within a relative 3D space, creating a more immersive listening experience. This is predominantly listened to in headphones or a sound bar as most people do not have a 12-speaker array set up in their homes.
What is a BiNaural MASTER or ADM MASTER FILE?
The BiNaural MASTER file is a Dolby encoded stereo music file created in conjunction with the ATMOS ADM MASTER file. These are the files we send to the record companies or to the streaming services to ingest into their systems. The stereo BiNaural file is what is streamed on Amazon Music and Tidal.
What is a BiNaural MP4 or ATMOS MP4 REFERENCE file used for?
These are stereo reference files that you can easily listen to on headphones or a pair of stereo speakers to approve an ATMOS mix done by your engineer. This should closely match your original stereo mix but it will never be an exact match. The MP4 and Binaural files are generated from the ADM. As I type, the encoding for Binaural and MP4s is constantly being improved, so what you hear now is the current state-of-the-art, but as with any relatively new technology, it is improving all the time (for example Apple spatial encoding got an upgrade in iOS15.1 compared to iOS 15).
How can I stream an ATMOS file?
To play an ATMOS file, you will need a compatible device and/or platform, such as a streaming service, apple TV, headphones, a home theater system, or a mobile device. For the FULL immersive experience you will need a speaker array that supports ATMOS playback with a 7.1.4 or 9.1.4 speaker setup.